The festival circuit took a blow in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many events calling for large crowds to cancel while live concertgoers opted to view their favorite music acts perform virtual sets via livestream.
Lollapalooza was among the many massive festivals that had to call off their annual event due to the pandemic but they made their triumphant return over the weekend. According to research firm BDSA, travelers from out-of-state who attended the Chicago festival played a significant role in boosting dispensary supplies‘ sales over the weekend. This year was the festival’s first go since Illinois’ established a legal — and thriving — cannabis market in 2020.
Illinois recreational cannabis sales hit a record $128 million in July, which was fueled in part by the festival. Lollapalooza festivalgoers boosted sales by as much as 50% at nearby dispensaries in River North and the West Loop.
In 2019, the festival brought in upwards of 400,000 attendees, and presumably a similar-sized crowd, if not bigger, in its post-pandemic return. Of course, festivals and cannabis have gone hand-in-hand since the beginning of time so inevitably, there was plenty of joints and blunts being lit up during acts like Miley Cyrus and Young Thug. A survey conducted by Time Out Magazine found that smoking cannabis and drinking were among the top five substances used at Lollapalooza, along with cocaine, MDMA, and LSD.
What’s interesting is that Grant Park, the grounds where the festival is hosted, prohibits smoking cannabis. However, legalization has provided a more discrete method of getting stoned, whether it’s from edibles or vapes. BDSA said that 38% of consumers report prefer edibles, simply because they’re more accessible and convenient. Unfortunately, being in large crowds in the scorching heat could mean that your edibles are prone to lose their potency or worse, melt completely.
Along with edibles, vape sales were expected to be boosted over Lollapalooza weekend. In 2019, there was a minuscule leap in vape sales during Lollapalooza weekend with Friday, Aug. 2nd leading the highest recorded dollar sales for vaporizer products that month.